In the last week of March, this scribe ventured on a journey along the Makran Coastal Highway. We stopped at Kund Malir, the scenic beach of Makran, for lunch. This is the last proper stop on the highway before Ormara, located 110 kilometers from Kund Malir. We reached Ormara in the early afternoon and our first stop in the coastal town was Pakistan Navy’s Cadet College Ormara.
Cadet College Ormara opened in 2013 as the premier educational institution by the Pakistan Navy in Balochistan. Since its inception, five batches have enrolled in this cadet college. The aim of this cadet college, as stated on its website is “to bring the young generation of Balochistan in the socio-economic stream of the country at par with other provinces through quality education and training, and facilitate them to come forward to serve the nation.” This is exactly the approach that Balochistan needs from other federal institutions.
The most amazing thing about this cadet college is that 50 percent of seats are reserved for students from Balochistan under the N-Cadet scheme. This will enable students from Balochistan to get admissions here, which they could not have done otherwise due to structural disadvantages they face.
In Cadet College Ormara, students from Balochistan are provided quality education for free and they also get a stipend from the Navy. This financing scheme has been carefully designed to facilitate enrollment of Baloch youth to this cadet college.
Students from Balochistan are provided quality education for free and they also get a stipend from the navy. This financing scheme has been carefully designed to facilitate the enrollment of Baloch youth to this cadet college
This cadet college offers education from eight standard till intermediate. After graduating, these cadets have an opportunity to join Pakistan Navy as officers upon passing the necessary tests. Since the inception of this college, more than 50 graduates have been commissioned in the Navy as officers, officials told this scribe. I also met a sub-lieutenant in the Pakistan Navy, who came from Turbat and who was now posted at Cadet College Ormara.
The buildings of this college have been impeccably built. All buildings are earthquake-proof, with modern offices. The main buildings present the look of an institution based in Europe. One can confidently say that this college has one of the best buildings for any college-level educational institution in Balochistan. Moreover, the administration block, educational block, and all classes contained various posters and signboards carrying useful short lessons for character building.
Infrastructure is a huge problem for any institution in Balochistan and so this college also faces those issues; this modern institution still does not have good quality internet. There is also the problem of water, which has to be transported from Basool river basin, located 30 kilometers away, in water tankers. However, this cadet college has 24 hours supply of electricity due to an arrangement with QESCO, which is a luxury very few institutions enjoy in Balochistan.
Located near Cadet College Ormara is Jinnah Naval Base. This is the second-largest naval base in Pakistan and a center of naval operations on the coast of Balochistan. This naval base has proved to be a major source of employment for the locals of Ormara. As per the claims of Navy officials I met, more than 1,500 locals of Ormara work at the naval base. In Balochistan, people have always complained that federal institutions do not employ locals even for lower-scale jobs. This complaint is not true in the case of Jinnah Naval Base at least.
Near this base is Crystal Beach Resort, operated by a local of Ormara. This resort is full to capacity with tourists coming from Karachi on weekends. Tourism is increasing in Oramra but it can’t flourish unless necessary infrastructure is built for the coastal region by the Balochistan government.
There is also a residential area for sailors near the base, which is home to Bahria Model College Ormara. This institution was originally designed as a school to impart education to children of Ormara from Montessori to primary level. Now it has also become a college and offers education till intermediate level. This college also has a reasonable infrastructure and prepares the children of Ormara to be able to get admission to Cadet College Ormara. Most employees of this institute are also from Ormara, which makes it another source of livelihood for the traditional fishermen society of Ormara.
The community-centric initiatives of the Pakistan Navy in Ormara, from providing quality education to providing livelihoods, is a role model for the rest of federal institutions when it comes to operating in Balochistan. Unfortunately, these commendable initiatives of the navy get very little attention in Balochistan. Therefore, there is a need especially to raise awareness about Cadet College Ormara so that people of Balochistan can apply for admission of their children in this institute. The government of Balochistan also needs to support such initiatives and it must replicate its model in its own educational institutions.
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